Before you make a significant investment in a single product or strategy, contact us to discuss the costs/benefits of a comprehensive investigation.
AVOID ROGUE PRODUCTS
Many investors are generally aware of the concepts of risk management, including allocation and diversification. However, many investors continue to fall prey to deceptive sales pitches for specific investment products or strategies. If you are considering the investment of a significant amount of money in a single investment or a single strategy, then please investigate thoroughly or hire Investor Lifeguard to conduct this investigation for you. Investor Lifeguard investigates risks such as liquidity risks, credit risks, spread risks, maturity risks, interest rate risks, crisis risks, complexity risks, etc. for its clients. Investors should first determine the types of risks and how much risk they are willing to take before they consider any investment. By determining this first, you will not be shopping for investment products and strategies that are outside of your risk parameters. It is similar to deciding how much you want to spend on a car before you decide to go car shopping for a Ferrari on a Toyota budget.
One of the risks that many investors ignore today and that Investor Lifeguard places a laser focus on is liquidity risk. Investor Lifeguard is especially troubled by the potentially illiquid products in the marketplace today. For example, what happens if your hedge fund becomes gated, which means a restriction might be placed on a hedge fund limiting withdrawals from the fund? What happens if your non-traded REIT suspends redemptions, which means the REIT refuses to buy back your investment and there is no active secondary market? What happens if your annuity has significant surrender charges, which means you have to pay a penalty to get out of the annuity? Liquidity risk is a looming problem today with retail investors because investors averse to market risks are susceptible to misleading pitches involving alternative investments that have the potential to become illiquid after the purchase.
Before you make a significant investment in a single product or strategy, we urge you to hire Investor Lifeguard to protect you from a decision you subsequently regret and can’t reverse without significant financial pain. In the event you choose to go it alone, we urge you to read the fine print in the offering materials and not rely on the seller’s oral representations. We understand investors’ hesitation to undertake reading written disclosures they receive relating to their investments when those disclosures are hundreds of pages of small print. Things like private placement memorandums and offering documents are written by lawyers and often decipherable only by PhDs in the financial arena. However, reading the risks outlined on page one will give you a more accurate perspective than the perspective provided by the investment professional recommending the product. Many investment professionals are not very knowledgeable about investments in general or the products they are selling and some are not ethical.
Before you invest in an EB-5, contact us to discuss the costs/benefits of a comprehensive EB-5 investigation
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM A BAD EB-5 INVESTMENT
For wealthy individuals seeking permanent residency in the United States, the EB-5 immigrant investor visa can be an appealing. However, the possibility of receiving a conditional resident card and then losing your substantial investment as well as having to leave the United States if the conditions for the visa are not met can cause devastation to the investor and his or her family. Therefore, the type of due diligence conducted by Investor Lifeguard is especially critical in connection with an EB-5 investment decision.
EB-5 investors should not assume that the EB-5 investment is safe simply because the “Regional Center” they are dealing with is approved by the U.S. Government. The approval of the U.S. Government is not an indication that the potential investment will be a good one, much less any indication of protection from loss of money or loss of the permanent resident card simply because the investment is made through an approved Regional Center. As a result, the U.S. government’s approval of the “Regional Center” should not be viewed as an endorsement of the likely success of the project.
Although the internet is a good starting point for information on the EB-5 visa, there is no filter on the internet. As a result, it is hard to distinguish independent advice from sales propaganda disguised as advice. On the internet, foreign investors can easily find both incompetent advice and professionals with conflicts of interest, as well as scam artists posing as experts. As a result, investors should only use the internet as part of their preliminary research and should not rely on it as the basis for their investment.
At Investor Lifeguard, we conduct significant due diligence on the individuals involved with promoting the EB-5. Some con artists see a great opportunity to scam people looking for EB-5 visas. There are all types of elaborate scams in which foreign investors could end up giving $500,000 or more to individuals or entities who are simply trying to steal the money. A simple way to reduce these risks is to never assume that you are dealing with people involved in a legitimate EB-5 investment simply because they wear nice suits; because they tell an impressive story; because they meet you at an impressive location; because they have lawyers on their team; or because they are referred by someone you know. As a first step, foreign investors need to make sure the people they are dealing with are actually who they say they are.
And, due diligence extends well beyond the determination of whether or not those involved are con artists. There are many attorneys and Regional Centers that are licensed and approved, but who do not always act in the best interests of the investor (either due to incompetence or due to conflicts of interest which taint their allegiance – or both).
Attorneys in the United States, for the most part, are trained in the law and not in analyzing the merits of an investment. Nevertheless, a recent trend has developed among some United States immigration lawyers that have begun accepting compensation or “referral fees” from EB-5 Regional Centers. Regardless of whether this “referral fee” is disclosed to the foreign investor, we believe it creates an unacceptable conflict of interest. Therefore, EB-5 visa investors should not work with an immigration attorney in selecting the Regional Center unless the attorney represents to the investor in writing that no financial benefit will be received from the EB-5 Regional Center.
Regardless of whether the investor is devoting $1 million or the lesser $500,000 in a “targeted employment area” (TEA) with high unemployment, it is crucial to vet these investments not only for legitimacy and legality, but also for viability and likely return on investment.
In connection with this investment analysis, we want to emphasize again that approval of a Regional Center by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services does not signify that the Center has good projects in which to invest. In fact, many Regional Centers ultimately fail to provide permanent green cards to their investors. As a result, investors should hire Investor Lifeguard to conduct due diligence when looking for a Regional Center that will give them a chance to become a United States permanent resident, create jobs to satisfy USCIS requirements, and receive back their investment and/or a return on their investment. It is important to keep in mind at all times that the end game is not just obtaining approval of a conditional resident card, but the removal of the conditions without further requirements so that the foreign investor is provided the opportunity to live in the United States permanently.
Investor Lifeguard is not affiliated with any EB-5 project, any Regional Center, or any other advisor or seller or EB-5 investments. As a result, Investor Lifeguard has no conflicts of interest and is focused on the singular goal of protecting its clients with respect to their selection of the EB-5 project that gives them the best chance of return of investment, return on investment, and permanent residency. This is too big of a decision to leave to the internet or a professional who has conflicting allegiances.
Before you trust an investment professional with significant funds, contact us to discuss the costs/benefits of a comprehensive investigation
AVOIDING ROGUE ADVISORS
Want to reduce the chances that you will make a catastrophic investment mistake for you and your family as you age? If you think Investor Lifeguard is about asset allocation and diversification, think again. While those theories are important and do impact your returns, Investor Lifeguard is focused on helping investors with decisions that will have an even greater impact on their financial future.
Investor Lifeguard can help investors avoid investment professionals that are unethical, incompetent, and ravaged by conflicts of interest, which will significantly reduce the chances that you make a big investment that subsequently destroys your financial security. If we sound overly dramatic, it is because investors discover every day – after it is too late – that they bought a life-changing high-commission product that didn’t perform as they were led to believe, they no longer want, and they can’t sell because there is no buyer’s market. Rogue advisors sell these types of products like hotcakes.
Although investors have become painfully aware over the last few decades that incompetence and fraud are not anomalies among investment firms on Wall Street and elsewhere, successful sales pitches for bad products seem to continue unabated. State and federal regulators have proven they are not able to protect investors from this ongoing wrongdoing.
Avoiding the wrong investment professional will significantly decrease the likelihood you will be pitched an investment product that can devastate your portfolio.
If you don’t already know it, you need to be aware that it is terribly easy to become an insurance salesman or financial adviser in comparison to the training, experience, education or testing required of doctors, certified public accountants or attorneys. Unless your financial adviser is a certified financial planner (CFP) or chartered financial analyst (CFA), or has some equivalent training, it is unlikely he or she has the type of education and testing required of other professionals on whom you rely.
As a result of this, it is crucial you select a good investment professional. Here are some factors that should not form the primary basis for selecting your investment professional: Do they have a dynamic personality? Are they a great golfer? Did a good friend recommended them? Did they give you a free steak dinner at a seminar? Do they remind you of your favorite grandchild? Do they wear really expensive clothes or drive a really expensive car? These are not valid criteria for selecting or using a particular investment adviser.
By focusing on the right criteria for selecting a qualified investment professional, you will effectively reduce the chances bad investment products end up in your portfolio that can devastate your financial future.